This is her calling, what she is meant to do.
A plant-based nutrition advocate and natural health enthusiast, Ashley has healed herself from the inside out.
Ashley was not brought up on this lifestyle. Raised on all the fixings of the Western Dietary Pattern, she made the conscious choice at age eight to give up meat and live as an ethical vegetarian.
Throughout her teenage years and early adulthood, Ashley survived on a diet of take-out, processed foods, alcohol and sleep deprivation. Her health was mediocre at best. She struggled with disordered eating, frequently starving herself by taking caffeine pills to suppress her appetite. She had chronic yeast infections, chronic urinary tract infections, chronic migraines, sinus infections, colds and flus. Her hair was brittle and thin and her skin was dull.
While in Sri Lanka for her 25th birthday, standing on the peak of Sri Pada, Ashley made the conscious decision to rid her life of negative energy and embark on a journey towards a healthier life. Already an avid yogi flirting with a vegan diet, she was ready to change.
Two months later, she attracted love and met her husband, Ben. Also a vegetarian at the time, the two decided to make the transition to a vegan lifestyle together. Driven by ethics and their love for animals, their plates were now cruelty-free. But they were also free of nutrients.
An epic twist was about to take place that would change Ashley's trajectory forever.
In March 2013, Ben and Ashley were deep-frying quinoa coated onion rings in the kitchen of their Toronto apartment when the oil in the pot went up in flames. In an instant, the flames spread to the cabinets and throughout the kitchen. Ashley called to Ben to collect their cats so they could evacuate, but he was struggling to catch them.
In a moment of desperation, Ashley put on oven mitts, grabbed the burning pot, called Ben to open the door and ran outside with it. As she was running, the fire burnt her face and hair and the oil spilled down her legs and on her feet. Within seconds, her tights disintegrated and half of her body was covered in second degree burns.
The doctor suggested she may need skin grafting surgery, but since oil continues to burn the skin for days after initial contact decided to give it time before making that call. Ashley trusted her body and its ability to naturally heal from the inside out and decided to take the healing into her own hands. Consuming only organic fruits, vegetables and grains and relying on natural healing remedies Ashley's body made such a rapid recovery that she didn't need surgery.
She was outside running within three weeks after the accident and her burn scars faded in less than six months.
Not only was she healed from the fire, but overtime her migraines disappeared, her UTI's and yeast infections left without returning, she stopped catching common colds, her hair grew thicker and her skin became brighter. All since eating a healthy and balanced plant-based diet. She felt healthier and stronger than she ever had before. Having experienced the power of plant-based nutrition and natural health first hand, she knew she had something to share with the world.
In 2014, Ashley created Rae of Sunshine, a digital brand dedicated to sharing her unique vegan recipes accompanied by her personal narratives about life, love and everything in between. Paired with a bustling social media presence on Instagram and Facebook, the brand quickly grew to touch thousands of people around the world. During this time, Ashley became an ongoing contributor for Cameron Diaz's health and wellness website, Our Body Book.
In early 2016, when Ashley became pregnant, she was charged with a new energy and discovered a deep sense of self-love. Throughout each trimester, she nourished her body with whole-food vegan meals and her soul with mindfulness, motion and gratitude. Avoiding all the typical pregnancy 'symptoms' from swelling to stretch marks and beyond, Ashley enjoyed nine craving-free months of high energy and ease.
She also found the strength and confidence to confront and beat her disordered eating demons through a balance of nutrition and motion that worked for her body's natural rhythm.
Nine months later, a daughter, Ivy, was born in perfect health, a testament to a well-planned and balanced plant-based pregnancy.
Since becoming a mother, Ashley's love and appreciation for thriving health within the family home has intensified. With the goal of providing support and resources for mothers, mothers-to-be and hungry families through pregnancy, postpartum and beyond, Ashley's eBooks, events and blog share one simple message: a plant-based nutrition and natural health can be simple, fresh, affordable, full of flavour, nourishing, nurturing and accessible.
Health is a journey, not a destination. Ashley believes everyone has the ability to live healthy on the inside and out and trusts that you will find your way on your unique journey.